FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Maybe the Cardinals’ scorer just has a loose definition of “groundball”.

    Comment by KB — September 6, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  2. I’ve never come close to seeing anyone else that bashes so many hard-hit, tough-to-field choppers than Holliday. His CAREER BA on grounders is .301, and he’s far from a fast runner. For a single comp, Pujols was recently on the same team, also hits for power, also has middling speed – and a career BA of “just” .263 on grounders. My theory is that Holliday makes lower-quality contact than most elite hitters, and makes up for it by being physically stronger. When he first came over from Oakland I thought he was lucky, until it happened game after game after game.

    Comment by astrostl — September 6, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  3. Matt Holliday’s BABIP on grounders has been among the highest in the league for years. He smashes balls on the ground down the lines for doubles and that squeak through the infield a lot more often because of the velocity with which they are hit. At this point in his career, its NOT a fluke. He does it every year.

    As for other guys, having watched the team it feels like Molina and Freese get a lot of hits on grounders.

    There is a difference between a softly hit ground ball and a smashed grounder. I don’t think its all luck.

    Comment by Jason — September 6, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  4. It sounds like the hitting coach has taken a leaf from Dave Duncan in encouraging groundballs.

    Comment by tropicalmug — September 6, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  5. Very interesting. Never looked at this by team. Did you happen to look at BA on grounders to left/center/right sides of fields? Wonder if they are better at pulling the ball through a hole or taking it the other way… or what they’re doing

    Or is it a correlation to the number of guys that they have on base? They’ve been one of the top offenses all year long and if they have a lot of guys on, shouldn’t the holes to hit balls through be bigger?

    Comment by JimLahey — September 6, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  6. I was also thinking that it could have something to do with runners on base opening up holes in the infield. Maybe look at splits with bases empty v. runners on base?
    I can’t find a way to look at this on the team stats page, but it doesn’t look like the Cardinals hit an abnormally high number of ground balls with runners on / in scoring position.

    Comment by murphym45 — September 6, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  7. OBVIOUSLY this is because the Cards are playing in the weaker NL.

    If they were facing Joe “Madman” Maddon’s overshifts and defensive alignments of infielders down to the quarter inch… or the wizardry of the Rangers’ Beltre or the Mariners’ Brendan Ryan… or the however-the-heck-the-Orioles-are-doing-it… or the 8-future-HOFer Yankee roster… well, all those groundballs would stop mewling their way into the outfield all lost and lonely and end up warm, snug and loved in a defender’s glove like they should.

    Comment by Chris from Bothell — September 6, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  8. Beltre and Ryan both were developed by NL teams. NL teams develop amazing defensive players, and this makes the NL worse??

    Comment by Anon — September 6, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

  9. This. I expect ball speed off the bat would explain most of the results.

    Comment by Anon — September 6, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  10. No. The fact that they, and many other great players, play in the AL now makes the AL the better league.

    Comment by chuckb — September 6, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  11. Does their average change based on the score? The Cards have a ridiculous record of like 25-8 in blowouts (decided by 5 or more runs) but a poor 1 run game. Perhaps this will also explain why the Cards are “underperforming” according to their run differential.

    My theory is that when they’re pounding a craptastic team like Houston or Chicago, their D stops trying as much and don’t quite get to those grounders that would otherwise have been fielded. High amount of runs scored in clustered, a lot of GB get through when the D cares less.

    Just my theory, absolutely no testing.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — September 7, 2012 @ 2:04 am

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